I don't hate the show, though. As a matter of fact, I kind of love it. I'm just not sure what's going on. Here's what I'm sure of: There's an affair between Noah (Dominic West) and Allison (Ruth Wilson) that for some reason lands them in an interrogation room. Why? I suppose we'll find out as the story unfolds.
When the premiere episode begins, we follow Noah as he prepares his family to leave their beautiful New York brownstone and spend the summer on the beach at his father-in-law's mansion. It's easy to immediately love Noah's parenting style, especially when he's convincing one of the younger kids to take a book or two with him. That quickly fades after his oldest son pulls a prank involving pretending to hang himself in the bathroom. I legitimately gasped and covered my eyes with my hands. (Admittedly, because of personal reasons, I'm not a fan of shows/movies ever showing someone hanging.) It's not until Noah is on his hands and knees over his son that the kid starts cracking up. It is at that moment that all I want to do is shake the kid violently, take away his every possession and turn his summer into a prison camp. Instead, he whimpers about feeling unloved and his dad doesn't punish him. At all.
From there, it's a quick leap to lunch at a diner local to the father-in-law's house. Noah, his wife and their four bratty kids sit down to order lunch and can't even make it through eating without another incident when one of the kids swallows something and begins to choke. Noah screams and begs for his wife, Helen (Maura Tierney) to help him, but she's basically useless. Awesome, Mom.
Later that night, unable to sleep, Noah heads for the beach. As he gets closer to a bonfire and the people surrounding it, he runs into their waitress from the diner, Allison. He ends up walking her home, she invites him to check out her outdoor shower and even proceeds to get in, get naked and invite him in. He declines and leaves, but turns back when he hears some commotion. Then, we witness Allison's husband, Cole (Joshua Jackson) berating her. The fight quickly turns into what appears to be forced sex. And then...
The second half of the episode is the story of that day, told again — this time from Allison's point of view. We wake up beside Cole, make love with Cole, mope about the child we lost with Cole. Then we head to work and meet Noah. Everything is different, though. People are sitting in different places. When Noah and Allison run into each other at the restrooms and, again, on the beach, conversations are different and the pursuer switches from Allison to Noah. Even that post-shower, post-fight rough sex scene suddenly feels different... more welcomed. At first, when we saw Noah's family sitting in the "wrong" seats, I assumed some sort of questionable continuity issue. It's quickly realized, though, that it's just Allison's version of how that day played out.
The entire episode is narrated by the soon-to-be lovers. During Noah's turn, he is occasionally asked questions by a faceless someone and that prompts him to continue the story. It's a calm voice. Honestly, I thought it was a shrink. When it's Allison's turn to "remember" that day, the same voice prompts her. It's pretty obvious something bigger is going on here, though. And when we eventually see the interrogation room, we know that by the end of summer, something huge (and illegal) will go down. But, if someone was murdered, whose fault is it? And what about the inconsistencies in each of their stories? Are they just remembering something differently because it was, potentially, a couple months ago? Or is one of them misremembering in an effort to hide whatever "truth" the detective is after?
We have all fall to watch the entwining and eventual unraveling of Noah and Allison. We can't wait to see where it goes. Catch The Affair on Showtime starting Oct. 12.
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